Today is a somber day for console fans of Square Enix’s first foray into MMORPGs. As of today, Final Fantasy XI on the PS2 and Xbox 360 is no more. This news has been known since last March, but today it’s all too real.
— Hanh Nguyen (@MogKnight) March 31, 2016
Final Fantasy XI for all its warts and issues, especially early on, should be remembered as a milestone game that not only brought the popular Final Fantasy series into the MMORPG sphere, but was also the first ever cross-platform MMORPG. Both PC and PS2 players could play together going all the way back to 2002. When you really think about how primitive the PS2 is compared to the current console/PC generation, that feat sounds even more impressive.
While the North American community has largely moved on from the PS2 and Xbox 360 versions, the PS2 platform still sees some popularity in Japan. It’s still too early to tell though what kind of impact this will have on the in-game servers, which are still up and running on PC in North America, Europe and Japan.
The PC version of Final Fantasy XI is still receiving regular updates which includes an update this April which will bring a new endgame event called Ambuscade. However, the FFXI development team noted last year that while the PC version will continue to receive regular small scale updates using preexisting assets into the foreseeable future, there currently aren’t any plans to develop a new expansion or anything along those lines that would require significant development time and effort.
Square Enix has long moved onto its new MMORPG boo, Final Fantasy XIV, which is gearing up for its next expansion to follow Heavensward which was released last June.
Whether you loved Final Fantasy XI, hated it, or never even bothered with it, one thing is for certain, FFXI is an important and historic game when it comes to console MMORPGs.